“Even a small star shines in the darkness.” - Finnish Proverb
Creativity is not only fun but also a great form of relaxation. Many people don’t bother trying creative pursuits because they consider themselves not to be “artistic”. They usually base this evaluation on grades they received for art in kindergarten or primary school. Forget about being “good” at art, just enjoy the fun side of being creative. In tribal societies everyone is an artist, musician, dancer and story-teller. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself or worry what anyone else thinks of what you have created. Just have a little bit of a play. You never know, you may actually create something quirky, or even beautiful, and possibly find the activity meditative in the process.
The creative exercise on this page is fun and simple, so why not get out some paints and have a go?!
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Sarina Damen is a spiritual counsellor, healer and teacher.
Being artistic can often be such a serious affair, rather than the fun and joy it should be. This exercise is designed to be a game, without any attachment to the finished result. It could be likened to taking a “child-like” approach, uninhibited by outcomes. This is an ideal exercise for a party game, but can be used, just as easily, as a personal explorative, creative experience.
You will need either a set of water-colour pencils; alternatively choose one of the following—pencils, felt pens, pastels, crayon, and this will be used in combination with water-based paints (watercolour, acrylic or gouache).
This technique depends on you NOT seeing what you are creating, while you are creating it! So you will either need a blindfold handy—the type used while napping to shut out the light is ideal, but even a large handkerchief will do the job (but no peeking once you’ve started!) Another option is to do this exercise at a table where you can place the sketch book on your lap under the table, out of sight. The advantage of this alternative is that you can see what colour media you are choosing while you are working. If you are choosing the blindfold option, it may be wise to line up your pens, pencils, crayons, or pastels in front of you from lightest colour to darkest colour, or just choose a minimal number of colours to work with. Select a small to medium sized sketch book or paper to work on.
Now choose a theme for your creation. Here are a few suggestions: -
Life under the sea
My family at dinner time
My favourite place
A mythological land and creatures
The enchanted garden
Inside my mind
What I will do when I grow up
What I did in my former life
Life in another time and place
Deep in the jungle
My view of the backyard—by an ant
My favourite person (or animal) in their favourite setting
What I would do if I were famous
My view of the fairground from the top of the Ferris wheel
Most of these topics are child-like to help you allow your imagination run wild, which it should!
If you are using this technique as a party game, everyone can choose their own topic, or make one up, but each person needs to announce what topic they have chosen before they start.
Once everyone is seated with their sketch book either on their lap (if not using a blindfold) or on the table if using a blindfold, pens or pencils handy and their topic chosen, it is time to begin. There is virtually no way that your picture will look like the theme you have chosen. In fact, it will probably look more like a series of wild marks on the paper. However some ingenious people have devised ways in which to coordinate their picture by feeling for the corners of the paper, and either starting at the edge or feeling for the most central point—but this isn’t necessary because it doesn’t matter if your creation looks like a “real” picture.
Set a time limit for this part of the exercise, probably a half hour to an hour will suffice. At the end of this time everyone takes off their blindfold and has a bit of a giggle at what they have created.
“THE NEW NUCLEAR DANGER: GEORGE W. BUSH'S MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX”
By Dr. Helen Caldicott
In a world torn apart by wars over oil, politicians have increasingly begun to look for alternative energy sources-and their leading choice is nuclear energy.
The myths that have been spread about nuclear-powered electricity are that it does not cause global warming or pollution, it is inexpensive and it is safe.
In this revealing examination of the costs and consequences of nuclear energy, world-renowned Nobel Peace Prize nominee Helen Caldicott uncovers the facts that belie the nuclear industry propaganda: nuclear power contributes to global warming; the true cost of nuclear power is prohibitive, with taxpayers picking up most of the tab; there's simply not enough uranium in the world to sustain nuclear power over the long term; and the potential for a catastrophic accident or a terrorist attack far outweighs any benefits.
Trained as a physician and thoroughly versed in the science of nuclear energy, the bestselling author of Nuclear Madness and Missile Envy here turns her attention from nuclear bombs to nuclear lightbulbs. As she makes meticulously clear in this essential book, the world cannot withstand either.
The New Press (2001, revised and updated 2004) (US, Canada, UK); ISBN:1565847407
Best Books List
In my role as a counsellor, I have recommended many interesting and useful books to clients. Listed here are my personal favourites which clients have found the most insightful and helpful. Possibly one or more of these books will be of some assistance to you.
Relationships & Family Issues
· RELATIONSHIP RESCUE by Dr Phillip McGraw
I have listed many Dr Phil books in this section. I have been recommending his books to clients for years but if you read any of them, it is important to do the assignments. A self help book of this type is not effective unless you “help yourself”, and that means doing the work if you want the desired changes and benefits.
· FAMILY FIRST by Dr Phillip McGraw
· THE FEEL THE FEAR GUIDE TO LASTING LOVE by Susan Jeffers
· THE ACHILLES SYNDROME -Overcoming the secret fear of failure by Petrūska Clarkson
Also applicable to the self esteem section.
· TOXIC PARENTS by Dr Susan Forward
· THE ADD ANSWER by Dr Frank Lawliss
An essential guide for parents and children dealing with ADD. Also helpful to families without ADD.
· SUPERNANNY:HOW TO GET THE BEST FROM YOUR CHILDREN by Jo Frost
· THE COURAGE TO HEAL by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis
A guide for survivors of child sexual abuse.
· ON DEATH AND DYING by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Self Esteem & Happiness
· LIFE STRATEGIES by Dr Phillip McGraw
· SELF MATTERS by Dr Phillip McGraw
· REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN by Gloria Steinem
· PEACE IS EVERY STEP by Thich Nhat Hanh
· HOW TO SURVIVE THE LOSS OF A LOVE by Melba Colgrove, Harold H. Bloomfield & Peter McWilliams
This book is extremely useful for those suffering from the ending of a relationship or loss through death. Everyone who has read this book has found it helped them greatly.
· HAPPINESS– THE 30 DAY GUIDE THAT WILL LAST YOU A LIFETIME by Patrick Whiteside
Patrick Whiteside is a psychiatrist and a member of the Buddhist-Christian Network.
· WILD SUCCULENT WOMAN by SARK
· FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY by Susan Jeffers
· THE LITTLE BOOK OF CONFIDENCE by Susan Jeffers
· THE FORCE OF CHARACTER AND THE LASTING LIFE by James Hillman
Deals with the concept of identity, purpose and ageing.
· THE FIVE STAGES OF THE SOUL: CHARTING THE SPIRITUAL PASSAGES THAT SHAPE OUR LIVES by Harry R. Moody and David Carroll.
Another excellent book on the purpose of ageing.
Harnessing Your Creativity
· THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron
A spiritual and creative workbook
· INSPIRATION SANDWICH by SARK
· DRAWING ON THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE OF YOUR BRAIN by Betty Edwards
· THE RISE OF THE CREATIVE CLASS by Richard Florida
· HEINERMAN’S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FRUITS, VEGETABLES AND HERBS by John Heinerman
· THE HERB BOOK by John B. Lust
Spirituality & Science
· THE DEATH OF FOREVER—A NEW FUTURE FOR HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS by Dr Darryl Reanney
Incredibly fascinating book. His initial concept was “a brief, science-based investigation into the biology of human mortality and the psychology of the human longing for immortality”. The first half of Dr Reanney’s book is filled with scientific reasons and theories as to why there is no such thing as life after death. Then half way through the book, many years into the project, he has an epiphany, and begins to see and discuss the link between science and immortality.
· WISDOM OF THE ELDERS by Peter Knudtson & David Suzuki
· THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS by Peter Tompkins & Christopher Bird
Beware - if you read this book, you may feel bad next time you forget to water your plants!
· PSI—PSYCHIC DISCOVERIES BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN by Sheila Ostrander & Lynn Shroeder
You can probably tell by the title, this is an older book, but it still definitely worth a read if you can get hold of it.
· NOW WE ARE SIX by A. A. Milne
I was given this book of poetry at age six. I still have it.
Spiritual Insight, Psychology & Meditation
· THE JOURNEY OF THE HERO by Friedmann Wieland
This book combines Jungian psychology, spiritual insight, the quest for the grail, ancient mythology, and ecological philosophy in the creative quest for self discovery.
· THE ESSENCE OF ALAN WATTS (SERIES)
I read this series when I was eighteen, and I have found nothing which compares to the insight shared by these wafer-thin books, especially the titles of “Time”, “Death”, and “Nothingness”.
· THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD Compiled & Edited by W. Y. Evans-Wentz Psychological commentary by Dr. C. G. Jung
· THE SECRET PATH by Paul Brunton
This is no “new-age” book. This exceptional text on mysticism and self-awareness was first published in 1935.
· HOW TO MEDITATE by Lawrence Le Shan
· THE QUIET MIND—Sayings of White Eagle
· THE LITTLE BOOK OF NATIVE AMERICAN WISDOM by Steven McFadden
· MYSTICISM—A STUDY AND AN ANTHOLOGY by F.C. Happold
· MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS by C.G. Jung
· THE WAY OF PERFECTION by St Teresa of Avila, Translated and Edited by E. Allison Peers
A beautiful, but heavy-going, book on the practice of prayer. I am happy to have this insightful Christian mystic as my confirmation namesake.
· LIFE AFTER LIFE by Raymond A Moody Jr MD
First book ever written on the subject of life after death experiences.
· THE WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR by Dan Millman
· THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF JESUS—FOUR GNOSTIC GOSPELS Translated by Marvin W. Meyer.
· THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS by Elaine Pagels
· THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran
· JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL by Richard Bach
Creative Focus by Sarina Damen — spiritual counsellor, healer, author, meditation and self-awareness teacher. Sarina is also an artist and qualified art teacher.
“Lonely Planet—Code Green:Experiences of a Lifetime” by Kerry Lorimer.
A great book listing many world-wide travel experiences—back-packing to luxury. It includes tips from minimizing your impact on an environmentally-fragile location, to how to tell if a so-called “eco-friendly” tour operation is taking you for a ride. Also includes a handy list of websites.
From Auguries of Innocence
by William Blake
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
“Over 4000 Works of Literature” compiled by Eurekamultimedia.
Strictly speaking, this isn’t a book, but a CD ROM, but for a meagre $10 AU, it is amazing value.
This CD contains complete classic novels, spiritual texts, essays, short stories, and poetry by some of the world’s most esteemed poets. Walt Whitman, John Donne, William Wordsworth, Plato, Homer, Henry Lawson, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, and Jane Austen, to name but a few writers, whose work can be found in this library. The Bhagavad-Gita (Hindu scriptures) and texts on Confucius and Buddha are also included in this enormous collection.
Each work can be printed out in part, or in full, bookmarked and cross-referenced to make locating each work simple. Fonts can be enlarged for easy reading.
I was thrilled to find “Essays” by Michel de Montaigne on this CD. Written in the 15th century, this essay on self-esteem, 502 pages in length, is amazing and insightful. If you purchase this text as a book, it is usually very expensive, so the “Essays” inclusion alone on this CD ROM, made the purchase well worth it.
I don’t think I will live long enough to read everything on this cd...but I’ll certainly try!
Then the second stage of the exercise begins.
If you have used watercolour pencils for the first part of the exercise, simply choose different marks on your drawing to drag and blur with a paint brush and water. Be selective in which parts you wish to alter with the water wash until you feel you have finished changing the marks on your paper.
Those who have used felt pens, pastels, crayons or ordinary pencils will need to apply washes or brush strokes with water-based paints to get a different, but also visually interesting, effect.
You may find that the finished product is more like an abstract, than a themed, painting, but this exercise’s objective is the fun of creating, not the creation of a “masterpiece”. But some people do end up with amazing pieces of visual art using this technique, although it may be more luck than good management?!
If this technique is used as a party game, there will probably be a variety of possible winning entries —the most unusual, the most humourous, the most beautiful, the most like their chosen topic. But whatever the results, as long as the artists, adults and children alike, enjoy the process, then the objective of this exercise has been achieved.
Site search tool by http://www.jrank.org/
Matisse Cut-Out Activity
Play and create pictures using cutout shapes and colors, similar to the work of Henri Matisse. Print out your design. Fun for both kids and adults. Brought to you by Abrakadoodle Art Education.